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Page last updated at 17:49 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Murray edges through Dubai opener


Murray sanguine over ankle injury

Britain's Andy Murray reached round two of the Dubai Championships with victory over Sergiy Stakhovsky, but struggled with an ankle injury.

Murray took control after an uneven start, recovering from a set and a break down to lead 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 5-3 when his opponent called it quits.

Both men had to deal with ankle injuries - Murray missed Marseille last week because of the problem.

The Scot will face Arnaud Clement or Rainer Schuettler in the second round.

"It was a bit strange with both of us struggling with our ankles toward the end of the match, but he was aggressive, fought very well and hit some unbelievable volleys," said Murray.

His ankle is obviously bad for him to stop but I would rather have finished the match

Andy Murray
"I played a couple of bad games in the first set and was disappointed with my serve, but I was always having chances on his serves so I wasn't really worried.

"But I think I tweaked my ankle about an hour-and-a-half into the match. I have got to see the physio now.

"The ankle was feeling a lot better during practice, but I was wearing braces then. Hopefully it will get better in the next few days."

Murray is the second seed in Dubai behind Novak Djokovic, following the withdrawal through injuries of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Having beaten Stakhovsky in both their previous meetings on the ATP Tour, as well as in the 2004 US Open junior final, Murray was a strong favourite for their first-round clash.

A swift victory looked on the cards when the Scot led 3-1 and 15-40 but he failed to convert, despite Stakhovsky needing his ankle taped by the trainer, and found himself in a tie-break unnecessarily.

An annoying lapse became slightly more serious when Stakhovsky took it, thanks in part to a fabulous half-volley and a Murray double fault, and the Ukrainian got an early break in the second set.

Finally, Murray gathered himself and found some first serves to reel off four games in a row and serve out the set.

By now it was Murray who was grimacing in pain because of an ankle injury, but he did not call for the trainer and managed to break to love at the start of the decider.

It proved to be enough for the world number four, and he noticeably protected his ankle from any unnecessary stress as he concentrated on winning his service games.

Murray did a good job of consolidating his lead but was denied the satisfaction of sealing the win when Stakhovsky, rather strangely, felt he could not continue when just two points from defeat.

"I was surprised," Murray said afterwards. "It wasn't like there was a long time to go in the match.

"The first point of that game he was sliding to the backhand on the court. His ankle is obviously bad for him to stop but I would rather have finished the match.

"He hit two 190 (kph) serves to start the game so he was still serving okay. It seemed the movement to his forehand is where he was struggling but I've been in that position before and I always try to finish the match."

In other matches, fourth seed David Ferrer beat Ivan Ljubicic 3-6 6-2 6-1, and fifth seed Marin Cilic defeated Janko Tipsarevic 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.

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see also
Murray in lap of luxury
23 Feb 09 |  Tennis
Murray wins US junior crown
12 Sep 04 |  US Open 2004

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